Scripture

2 Corinthians 12:1-10

Paul’s Vision and His Thorn

12 I must go on boasting. Although there is nothing to be gained, I will go on to visions and revelations from the Lord. I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven. Whether it was in the body or out of the body I do not know—God knows. And I know that this man—whether in the body or apart from the body I do not know, but God knows— was caught up to paradise and heard inexpressible things, things that no one is permitted to tell. I will boast about a man like that, but I will not boast about myself, except about my weaknesses. Even if I should choose to boast, I would not be a fool, because I would be speaking the truth. But I refrain, so no one will think more of me than is warranted by what I do or say, or because of these surpassingly great revelations. Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Reflection

The Apostle Paul delighted in weakness. He understood, in a deep way, that when he was weak, when he failed, when he did not have the skills or strength to do what God called him to do, then would Christ’s strength shine all the brighter. He only needed to recognize his weakness and accept Christ’s strength.

In her book, Sin Boldly: A Field Guide for Grace, Cathleen Falsani said, “Grace can't be amazing until your sin is amazing. You've got to get in that place where you can be startled by it, because if you do everything right, you don't deserve it.”   

Jesus came for the sick, the sinner, and the broken; not for the righteous and whole. We are all walking examples of God’s grace, though many of us try to hide it. I think it is healthy to recognize this and share our own brokenness authentically with each other.  Jesus came to redeem and transform, to make all things new. If you live a life showing only your best self to the world, God doesn’t get to show off his handiwork. However, if you share your brokenness, failures, and mistakes with others, God can transform you and your mess into something beautiful and amazing. So quit acting as if you don’t need God, we all do. Learn to delight in your weakness as Paul did, for when you are weak, then God is strong.

Are you able to admit or even delight in your shortcomings? Can you point to God’s amazing grace in our life?

Prayer

Dear God, Thank you for your unfailing love. Thank you for redeeming my heart and reconciling me to a relationship with you. Help me renew my commitment to live in your ways each day. Remind me that I need you and your grace in every aspect of my life, even the areas where I feel more than capable. Help me recognize my weaknesses and celebrate them as places for you to demonstrate your strength. I love you, Lord, and I long to follow you with all that I am and all that I have. Amen.